Beamish sues O’Sullivan for defamation

Former Moneyweb journalist Tony Beamish has sued the well-known private investigator Paul O’Sullivan for R1.5 million for defamation for numerous statements he made in his book Catch Me If You Can and several emails.

Beamish contends in court papers that O’Sullivan’s defamatory statements were part of an orchestrated campaign to discredit him after he exposed the fraudulent conduct of personal injury lawyers Ronald and Darren Bobroff nearly a decade ago.

Interpol on the hunt for Ronald and Darren Bobroff [Jul 2018]
Some of Bobroffs’ stolen millions will be coming back to SA [Aug 2019]
The Bobroffs are thieves says the Supreme Court of Appeal [May 2021]
Goodbye to the Bobroff millions [Mar 2022]
Secret settlement sees the Bobroffs dodge criminal prosecution [Apr 2022]

At the time, the Bobroffs employed O’Sullivan to identify the employee who leaked confidential information to Beamish.

Beamish, who previously worked for Moneyweb and Carte Blanche, is now doing freelance work. He says his reputation has suffered because of O’Sullivan’s statements that he, among other things, sexually assaulted a young student, perpetrated fraud and has “psychopathic tendencies”.

The court papers state that the defamatory statements were contained in O’Sullivan’s book and emails to Moneyweb editor Ryk van Niekerk, Wynand Grobler, then executive producer of Carte Blanche, and Ronald Bobroff.

The statements also made their way onto the internet.

Beamish says O’Sullivan’s defamatory statements harm his reputation as people he works with search his name online and come across the statements.

Exposés of the Bobroffs

Beamish wrote numerous articles exposing the fraudulent conduct of the Bobroffs. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) issued arrest warrants for the Bobroffs in 2016, but they fled to Australia before being arrested. They have been fugitives of the law ever since.

Beamish reported on numerous court cases the Bobroffs lost as well as a report of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces, which found substantial irregularities in the books of the Bobroffs’ legal practice. The Bobroffs denied any wrongdoing.

In 2015, Beamish and his Carte Blanche colleague Joy Summers were awarded the Webber Wentzel Legal Journalist of the Year Award in the television category for their reportage of the Bobroff saga.

Beamish believes O’Sullivan’s alleged defamation stems directly from this, with O’Sullivan and the Bobroffs driving a concerted effort to discredit him as a journalist.

Bobroff’s contingency regime unlawful [Feb 2014]
Mr Bobroff, open your books [Nov 2014]
Ronald and Darren Bobroff found guilty of contempt of court [Mar 2015]
Bobroffs’ delaying tactics draw judicial censure [Aug 2015]
Hawks arrest Ronald Bobroff’s wife [Mar 2016]
High Court places Bobroff law firm under curatorship [Mar 2016]
The Bobroffs fought the law… and the law won [Jul 2017]
AFU seizes R101m the Bobroffs hid in Israel [Aug 2017]

In response to e-mailed Moneyweb questions, O’Sullivan says he is “100% going to defend it and teach Beamish a lesson, he will NEVER forget”.

O’Sullivan blames Beamish for the kidnapping charges Cora van der Merwe, one of Bobroff’s former employees, laid against him.

This relates to his interrogation of her to find out if she was the employee who leaked information to Beamish.

Read: I did not kidnap her, Paul O’Sullivan testifies [Sep 2017]

O’Sullivan was subsequently prosecuted and found not guilty.

He says Beamish “started the war, when he started writing to my children, using his anonymous e-mail accounts … ” and following Van der Merwe’s kidnapping charge.

“He knows what he has done, and he knows I will expose him for what he is.”

The private investigator alleges that Beamish sexually assaulted a student who is close to Van der Merwe. The student laid criminal charges against Beamish, but the NPA decided not to prosecute.

The student tried to institute private prosecution and obtained a protection order against Beamish, but abandoned all the actions before they were concluded.

Beamish denies the allegations and points out that the student corresponded with Ronald Bobroff before she laid criminal charges and offered to help him after he fled the country.

The correspondence between them has been published on the website

Beamish has applied to court to declare her a vexatious litigant to stop further litigation she may institute against him.

O’Sullivan supports her and states her allegations as fact on his website.